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Sustainability Approach


We believe sustainability should be a long-term priority not only for our operations in China, but also for the country as a whole.


We are integrating sustainability into our business practices using Alcoa values, standards, and procedures as our guide. We are also revising and updating processes, procedures, and facilities to help us contribute to the achievement of Alcoa’s global strategic sustainability targets.


Our leaders are committed to supporting Chinese enterprises as they pursue sustainable growth in the global market. Many Chinese companies involved with the aluminum industry are upgrading their technologies, and we work with them to help shape their sustainability strategy. In addition, our leaders freely share Alcoa’s sustainability expertise and discuss how multinational corporations and Chinese companies can work together toward common sustainability objectives.



Demand for aluminum in China has soared in the past 15 years due to accelerating industrialization and urbanization. These megatrends have resulted in a steady rise in demand from the country’s construction, transportation, aerospace, shipping, packaging, and consumer electronics industries.


In response to this growing demand, China has become the largest aluminum producer in the world. We participate in the country’s economy by manufacturing and selling aluminum sheet, automotive components, and aerospace products, as well as fasteners made of various materials, at our four operating facilities throughout the country. We also have five administrative and sales offices throughout China.


China CPI Agreement Signing

Lu Qizhou (left), president of CPI, and Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa chairman and CEO, celebrate the agreement’s signing.

We have taken a leadership position with our Chinese partners and customers to promote the sustainability of aluminum as an essential factor in the country’s new materials industry.


In February 2012, we finalized an agreement with China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) to establish a joint venture company to produce high-end fabricated aluminum products for the Chinese aerospace, automotive, commercial transportation, consumer electronics, and packaging markets. The new venture will be majority owned and managed by Alcoa.


In 2012, our Kunshan plant increased its output by 5% as a result of better resource and equipment utilization and waste minimization. According to customer feedback, our newly developed aluminum products produced at the plant helped them increase the efficiency of their products.


Alcoa Bohai

Alcoa Bohai

Our Bohai plant achieved steady growth in 2012. Through technological improvements, its consumer electronics products became thinner and offered better heat treatment and surface quality. Sales revenue for its sheet products that are used to manufacture trucks, aluminum buses, and tankers increased significantly, and its aluminum can sheet achieved 27% sales growth over 2011. For strategic business purposes, the plant exited the lithographic sheet business at the beginning of 2013.


In August 2012, Alcoa China Technical Center received a Chinese utility model patent from the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China for heat sinks used in consumer electronics and electrical equipment. The invention is expected to be widely applied to the manufacturing of heat exchangers in electronics and electric equipment.


The heat sink’s compact design reduces the size and weight of the heat exchangers, expands the heat-conduction surface, and improves performance. This solution will help manufacturers meet the heat dissipation demands of electronic and electrical products that are becoming more energy-efficient, lighter, and smaller in size.


In December 2012, the Alcoa Wheel and Transportation business officially opened its first production facility in Suzhou, China, creating a full wheel manufacturing, distribution, sales, and service network in the country. This facility uses Alcoa’s forged aluminum wheel technology to manufacture lighter, stronger, and more fuel-efficient commercial truck, trailer, and bus wheels.


In January 2013, Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings (AFSR) signed a strategic technology and commercial cooperation agreement with Commercial Aircraft of China, Ltd. (COMAC), the main manufacturer of large passenger aircraft in China. Under the agreement, AFSR will provide COMAC with technical assistance in fastener and assembly tooling selection, joint design consideration, and quality system management. In return, COMAC will purchase a significant percentage of its fasteners from AFSR for the initial production of the C919 aircraft.


For the third consecutive year, China Rolled Products conducted a customer satisfaction survey called the Net Promoter Score to better understand and meet our customers’ needs and expectations. The key metrics included lead time, quality, after-sale services, and buy-in process.


The 2012 sample size and total response rate were higher than in 2011. Our Bohai plant improved its scores in ease-of-buying, product portfolio, consistency in product availability, buying process, product quality, and accuracy of order. Our Kunshan plant experienced improvements in quality, reputation on sustainability, and long-term commitment to product.



Alcoa Kunshan

Alcoa Kunshan

In 2012, our plants in Bohai, Kunshan, and Suzhou reduced their collective freshwater use and landfilled waste by 20% each following an increase in the prior year. Emissions of direct and indirect greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide climbed for the third year in a row due to a 16% increase in production output compared to 2011. We are working to reverse this trend through increased energy efficiency.


By improving the efficiency of key energy-consuming equipment, utilizing energy-saving lighting systems, and upgrading its emulsion tank, our Bohai plant reduced its energy-use intensity by 13% in 2012 compared to 2011. It also achieved a 31% reduction in water-consumption intensity due to the upgrading of its water supply system and water recycling station.


Our Kunshan plant reduced its total hazardous waste by 50% in 2012 through continued self-assessments and improvements to its waste control facilities and their maintenance. For example, pollutants (i.e., phosphorus, hydrogen chloride, dust, volatile organic compounds, etc.) in wastewater and general waste decreased 57% and 69%, respectively, compared to 2011.


Environmental Performance
  Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Metric tons of CO2 equivalents
Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Metric tons of CO2 equivalents
Freshwater Use
Millions of cubic meters
Landfilled Waste
Thousands of metric tons
2008 20,389 81,165 0.4 0.6
2009 21,121 60,609 0.4 0.4
2010 33,791 81,278 0.5 0.4
2011 36,661 86,378 0.6 0.7
2012 39,485 94,182 0.5 0.6



Health & Safety

We achieved significant improvement in our health and safety performance in 2012, reducing our lost workday incident rate by 11% and our total recordable incident rate by 33%. The biggest improvement came with our days away, restricted, and transferred (DART) rate, which declined 55%. This rate shows that we are having success at eliminating our more serious injuries.


In 2012, our Bohai plant focused on improving human performance through the implementation of tools and techniques to identify error-likely situations and hazards associated with the work environment or work method. For example, the plant implemented a pre-task system that allows employees to identify and address potential risks before starting an assignment.


Throughout the year, a team comprising employees from production, maintenance, environment, health, and safety (EHS), and the Alcoa Business System surveyed key equipment and plant areas to identify at-risk situations and develop action plans to rectify those potential hazards. By February 2013, the team had corrected every hazard identified.


The Bohai plant also invested in a facility upgrade for processing diatomite, which is used to filter oil in the cold mill. This ergonomic-focused project is expected to eliminate musculoskeletal risks for the operator and improve work efficiency.


In 2012, our Kunshan plant’s EHS capital expenditures reached US$2.07 million and included rebuilding a lifeline system used to protect against different-level falls, upgrading combustion system safety, and installing additional machine guarding. A renovation to the sound insulation system in the hot mill’s operation room reduced noise levels from 90 decibels to 76 decibels, which is much lower than the national standard. The plant also upgraded its welding line’s dust treatment facility to ensure dust concentration was lower than both the national and Alcoa standard.


As a result of its efforts, the plant received a “Good” score in Alcoa’s 2012 internal EHS audit and achieved the best safety performance in its history.


Health & Safety Performance
Lost Workday
Incident Rate
Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) Rate Total Recordable
Incident Rate
2008 0 0.35 0.96
2009 1/0 0.12 1.09
2010 0 0.32 1.38
2011 0 0.09 0.97
2012 0 0.08 0.24 0.65



Our people remain one of our key sustainability focuses. A talented workforce with a variety of knowledge, skills, and capabilities will enable us to continue growing in one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets.


Our operations in China again participated in Alcoa’s Global Voices Survey. Overall employee engagement improved from 69% in 2011 to 73% in 2012, and the 100% participation rate was the best in our history.


We initiated an employee retention program during the year to minimize talent loss and prevent adverse impacts on our business operations. We improved our competitiveness within the local job market and retained critical talent through job rotations, special awards and recognition, and long-term incentives.


Acquiring new talent to meet our growing business needs was another priority in 2012. We filled vacancies with experienced professionals and provided internships to more than 20 university students at our regional offices. Our Bohai and Kunshan locations also hired more than 90 employees from their local markets.


To recognize and encourage employee performance and loyalty, we awarded more than 480 employees from Alcoa China Rolled Products and the regional offices through our Service Year Anniversary Program. In addition, 104 employees received You Make a Difference Awards and incentive stock for their outstanding contributions to our company.


The workforce in China regards learning and development opportunities as key factors to being fully engaged and remaining with an organization for a long period of time. To meet development needs and improve management efficiency, we continued delivering a series of training programs for the different levels of employees (general staff, supervisor, and senior leaders). This training included aluminum basics, new employee orientation, cross-function knowledge sharing, supervisory excellence, and leadership development.


We remained on track in our efforts to improve the efficiency of our human resources function by increasing strategic business support and eliminating low-value administrative work. After a good start in 2011, we continued to implement the human capital management project in 2012. Alcoa human resource contacts from Japan, Korea, India, and China participated in a system demonstration for compensation and benefits, performance management, and human resource data in May 2012.


In addition to work-related improvements, we strive to instill a sense of ownership in our employees by making them feel enriched and valued and enabling a good work/life balance. We did this through various activities in 2012, including employee birthday parties, fitness memberships, onsite training, team-building events, first aid training, sports activities, and an employee assistance program.


Alcoa’s senior management, including Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO, increased their visits to China in 2012 and personally engaged with our people. These executives shared their insights on business strategy, sustainability, talent management, and more, while also conveying their confidence in our China operations.


Supply Chain

We are focused on the evaluation and development of suppliers located in China with the fundamental goal of achieving sustainable sourcing within the region.


New supplier assessments can include business reviews, technical assessments, and onsite audits. A typical evaluation reviews the following topics:

  • Environment, health, and safety;
  • Human rights and social responsibility;
  • Business history, infrastructure, and financial stability;
  • Production process capability and experience;
  • Technical capability;
  • Quality management system; and
  • Logistics and transportation.


We also conduct assessments of established suppliers in relation to ongoing activities. They include supplier performance management; production quality monitoring; onsite product quality validation; process capability studies; and periodic onsite audits to reconfirm the original evaluation.


Aligned with Alcoa’s global procurement strategy, we are continuously developing a win-win situation between suppliers and customers in China. Our supplier quality management (SQM) team helps suppliers progress not only on quality and process, but also in the EHS areas. We encourage our suppliers to consider dust emission control, fuel gas purification, water recycling, waste heat recovery, and more. Through these continued and effective supplier management activities, we have introduced environmentally friendly practices to domestic suppliers and helped enhance the stability of their products.


In 2012, for example, we achieved zero defects on purchased calcined coke and improved the quality of the cathodes Alcoa sourced in the country. Our SQM team drove this quality improvement by visiting our suppliers’ sites, giving feedback on their quality performance, monitoring them as they improved their processes, and checking production before shipment. As a result, Alcoa’s smelters in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, and the United States purchased, and provided positive feedback on, more than 70,000 metric tons of coke and 9,000 metric tons of cathodes from Chinese suppliers.


We also sourced materials, including packaging, alloys, lubricants, and chemicals, for our Bohai and Kunshan plants. By using simple metrics to track suppliers’ monthly quality and delivery performance, we improved our supplier evaluation and made it more reliable.



Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$7 million in Chinese communities since 2004, building partnerships with community stakeholders, improving the environment, educating tomorrow’s leaders, and aiding people with special needs.


In 2012, we continued to work with key community partners, including the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, Tsinghua University, and World Resources Institute, on Alcoa’s sustainability and environmental programs.


We supported the development of the EHS Academy in Jiangsu province; initiated environmental education programs for students of varying ages; provided care to the ill and elderly; funded the development of wastewater treatment technology for a village in Qinhuangdao; and supported the establishment of an eco-botanical garden in Shanghai.


Dr. Lai Yulin Presentation

Dr. Lai Yulin presented at the UN Climate Change Conference.

In December 2012, two researchers from Tsinghua University—one of Alcoa Foundation’s Advancing Sustainability Research academic program partners—presented at a satellite event of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha that was focused on the development of a low-carbon economy in China. Dr. Lai Yulin introduced his research on China’s Voluntary Emission Reduction (VER) system, and Dr. Hu Yingzi analyzed a case study on the participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in climate change adaptation activities in Yunnan province. Both researchers are participants in the Alcoa Foundation program.


We supported four high school teams from Beijing and Shanghai to participate in the 2012 FIRST© Tech Challenge (FTC). This Alcoa Foundation initiative supports a robotics competition in Australia, China, Germany, Russia, and the United States to develop science, technology, engineering, and math skills in high school and secondary school students. One of the Chinese teams, Beijing No. 2 Middle School, won first place in the FTC Beijing competition and received the FTC Inspire Award in December 2012.


Suzhou plant employees participate in boat race

Employees from the Suzhou plant participated in a dragon boat race to support a local migrant worker aid program.

Employee volunteerism is an integral part of our community investment. This year, our volunteers displayed their dedication to the sustainability and well-being of the communities in which we live and operate via Green WorksAlcoans in Motion, and the Alcoa Month of Service, among others. Our employees achieved a record-high 68% participation rate for the 2012 Month of Service.

In 2012, we became a member of the Make a Difference Corporate Volunteer Alliance sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. Through this platform, we invited volunteers from other member companies to take part in our Green Works activity in Shanghai, and we joined the corporate social responsibility programs initiated by the alliance.


Zhou Quan, a manufacturing engineer from our Suzhou plant, joined 10 other Alcoans from six countries to attend the third annual One Young World Summit, a global gathering of young business and philanthropic leaders that was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, in October 2012. The summit’s goal is to bring together young people to discuss global issues and develop solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. Li Yueping, who works at one of our community partners in China, was also invited to share ideas and best practices in the summit along with five other environmental and educational NGO leaders worldwide.


Employee Volunteer Hours
2008 964
2009 1,633
2010 2,175
2011 2,404
2012 3,416



International Investment Strategist—Fifth CEO Roundtable of Chinese and Multinational Companies
Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Chairman and CEO


Top 100 Green Company in China—Green Company Annual Summit
Alcoa (China) Investment Company Limited


2012 Multinational Company with Contribution to Corporate Social Responsibility in China—Fifth CEO Roundtable of Chinese and Multinational Companies
Alcoa (China) Investment Company Limited


China’s Most Socially Responsible Company through the Lens—China Enterprises News 
Alcoa (China) Investment Company Limited


Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Case—China Philanthropy News 
Alcoa (China) Investment Company Limited


Outstanding Enterprise—Government of Chaoyang District 
Alcoa (China) Investment Company Limited


2012 OASIS Top Ten Star Enterprise Award—OASIS Shanghai
Alcoa (China) Investment Company Limited


2012 Outstanding Company—Committee of Non State-owned Companies, Kunshan Huaqiao Economic Development Zone 
Alcoa Kunshan Aluminum Products Company Limited


Credit Ranking A in Social Security in 2011—Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security in Kunshan 
Alcoa Kunshan Aluminum Products Company Limited


2010-2011 Enterprise Citizenship Star Award—Kunshan Citizenship Enrichment Committee
Alcoa Kunshan Aluminum Products Company Limited


Excellent Company for the Green Economic Project—Qinhuangdao Environmental Bureau
Alcoa Bohai Aluminum Industries Company Limited


Environmental Volunteerism Model Company—Qinhuangdao Environmental Volunteerism Association 
Alcoa Bohai Aluminum Industries Company Limited


Great Contributor to Environment, Wetland, and Bird Protection—China Wild Animal Protection Association of Qinhuangdao Animal SOS 
Alcoa Bohai Aluminum Industries Company Limited


2012 Financial Integrity Enterprise in Qinhuangdao City—Qinhuangdao Financial Integrity Enterprise Review Committee 
Alcoa Bohai Aluminum Industries Company Limited


2009-2012 Qinhuangdao Community Outstanding Employee Award—Qinhuangdao Government
Albert Wang, General Manager, Alcoa Bohai


Best Safety & Energy Savings Award—Committee of 2013 Annual

Excellent Bus Parts & Components Recommendation of the Year 
Alcoa Forged Aluminum Wheels

Related Link

Alcoa in China